This is shaping up to be a very rough year at the mall.
During the first weeks of 2019, retailers shut down 23% more stores than they did at the start of 2018, according to Coresight Research. The firm concludes there's "no light at the end of the tunnel" for troubled store companies.
By our count, close to 6,000 closings have already been announced in 2019, for this year and beyond.
Here are 28 chains that are shutting down stores this year, counting down to the retailer turning out the lights at the most U.S. locations. When you hit the liquidation sales, be sure to take along a cash-back credit card for additional savings.
Stores closing in 2019: 4
Kohl's has been in better shape than those department stores you find at the big enclosed malls. Experts say shoppers think Kohl's stores in strip shopping centers are less of hassle than going to the mall.
Even so, the 2018 holiday shopping at Kohl's wasn't quite as good as expected, leading the company to shut down four money-losing stores this year, plus a customer service center in Dallas where 300 people work.
But the chain says the closings will be balanced out by the opening of four new stores, though they'll be smaller than the typical Kohl's.
26. (tie) Target
Stores closing in 2019: 6
Even popular and trendy Target finds itself with money-losing stores that it wants to shake loose.
The company said it would close a half-dozen by February, in what has become an annual event. The chain shuttered 13 in February 2018, and a dozen a year earlier.
But don't worry, Target fans — you'll still have plenty of places to use your REDcard credit card. The discount retailer was planning to open roughly 20 new locations this year, primarily smaller stores.
26. (tie) J. Crew
Stores closing in 2019: 6
Many malls are dying off, which is a serious problem for chains that rely on them — like J. Crew.
The clothing retailer that was once the go-to for preppy threads hasn't made any formal announcement about new closings, but there are scattered reports that six U.S. locations shut down in early 2019.
Those stores were in California, Connecticut and four Southern states. In early 2018, the ailing chain shuttered as many as 50 stores.
Stores closing in 2019: 8
At Macy's, it's practically a tradition that an announcement of store closings comes as soon as the holiday season ends. But this time, Macy's got an early jump on things.
The company revealed in November that a department store in suburban New York would close in early 2019, and Business Insider reports four other Macy's stores were already on the chopping block.
Macy's has since disclosed plans to shut down three more stores in 2019, for a total of eight. Analyst Neil Sauders with Global Data Retail says the chain needs to dump locations "where the return on investment is not viable."
24. Lord & Taylor
Stores closing in 2019: 9
Lord & Taylor closed its iconic flagship store on New York's Fifth Ave. before the end of 2018, and the company planned to put several more of its department stores out of business this year.
The New York store had stood for more than 100 years and was the first to place animated displays in its store windows at Christmas time. The chain's other locations are mostly found in malls.
Meanwhile, L&T is hoping its survival will come via a unique new partnership with Walmart: A Lord & Taylor site within Walmart's website will feature over 125 upscale brands.
23. Z Gallerie
Stores closing in 2019: 17
The upscale furniture store Z Gallerie is one of several retailers to file for bankruptcy in 2019, though the chain is hoping to find a buyer who can keep the company in business.
For now, it's closing about a fifth of its 76 stores in 28 states.
Z Gallerie is blaming itself for its problems. In the bankruptcy filing, the company says it bungled with e-commerce, an expansion and a pricey distribution center, according to Bloomberg.
22. Southeastern Grocers
Stores closing in 2019: 22
You may not know the Southeastern Grocers name, though if you live in the Southern U.S. you've seen the company's supermarkets.
Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and Harveys are institutions across the region, but grocery shoppers have been gravitating away to big-box stores such as Walmart and Costco — and to Amazon.
Southeastern Grocers is shutting down about two-dozen more stores, less than a year after the company went through a bankruptcy and closed nearly 100 of its locations.
21. Henri Bendel
Stores closing in 2019: 23
Handbags and other items from the upscale accesories store Henri Bendel will now become collector's items.
After 123 years in business, the luxury chain closed its doors in January, including at its flagship location on New York's Fifth Ave.
The Henri Bendel stores had been losing money, so parent company L Brands wanted to concentrate on its other chains, namely Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works.
20. Beauty Brands
Stores closing in 2019: 25
Things are getting ugly for Beauty Brands, a cosmetics chain with stores in a dozen states.
First, the retailer announced that it would shut down 25 of its 58 locations in early 2019. A few weeks later, the company filed for bankruptcy and said it would try to sell its remaining stores.
Beauty Brands encountered trouble competing against bigger and stronger rivals like Ulta, which is opening dozens of new stores.
19. J.C. Penney
Stores closing in 2019: 27
J.C. Penney has many things in common with Sears: Both were founded around the beginning of the 20th century, both are fixtures in U.S. shopping malls, both used to have major catalog businesses.
And now Penney is fighting for its life, just like Sears.
Right after a bad holiday sales season, Penney's stock dropped below $1 for the first time ever. More recently, the company said it would close 18 department stores in 2019 and nine of its separate furniture stores.
18. Christopher & Banks
Stores closing in 2019: The first of up to 40
A lot of things haven't been going right for the women's clothing retailer Christopher & Banks, which has decided to close between 30 and 40 of its more than 450 stores over the next two and a half years.
Executives say the company wound up with more 2018 spring and summer clothing than it could sell. Then, shipping delays made it tough to put new merchandise on the racks.
C&B reported a nearly $9 million loss from its late summer quarter and said sales were down 7.5% at its established stores. But the CEO tells analysts that the chain is making progress.
17. The Children's Place
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 45
If you're used to taking your kids to The Children's Place to get them clothes for back-to-school, be warned that your store might be gone by the next school-shopping season.
For the past few years the retailer has been working toward a goal of closing 300 stores by 2020. Executives told Wall Street analysts in early March that 40 to 45 locations would be shuttered in 2019, and another 45 would close next year.
The Children's Place has been trying to get its arithmetic right. It's trimming its store count and giving its website more attention to boost its profits.
Stores closing in 2019: 48
Target, Kmart and Walmart opened their first stores in the same year (1962) and were once known as the "big three" discount retailers. But soon, there might be only two left standing.
Kmart appears to be spiraling toward its death. By our count, the chain's ailing parent company Sears Holdings closed more than 150 Kmart stores in 2018, and it plans to shut down nearly 50 more in 2019.
Back in 2000, Kmart was everywhere — some 2,200 stores dotted the U.S. and its territories. As of August, just 360 remained.
Stores closing in 2019: 51
Home improvement retailer Lowe's is taking a hacksaw to part of its business. It planned to cut 20 stores in the U.S. and 31 in Canada by February.
Lowe's will still have more than 2,000 locations between the two countries. CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement that the downsizing is just part of "building a stronger business."
The company says most of the closings involve Lowe's stores that are operating within 10 miles of another location.
14. Victoria's Secret
Stores closing in 2019: 53
It's Victoria's Not-So-Secret: Consumers no longer get all steamed up over the lingerie brand, so it has gone from hot to ice cold.
The chain has failed to keep up changing tastes. Analysts say that instead of the skimpy styles at Victoria's Secret, women are more interested in underwear that's comfortable and made for all body types.
The retailer plans to close more than 50 of its stores. According to Bloomberg, that's more than three times the number that shut down in a more typical year.
13. Destination Maternity
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 67
No surprise here: Many expectant moms would rather shop from the comfort of home than trudge to the mall.
So, Destination Maternity — which also operates Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod stores — has been struggling to compete against online retailers.
The company has announced it's closing up to 280 stores over the next four years, including as many as 67 during its 2019 fiscal year, which starts in July.
The retailer wants to sell more of its maternity clothes online and lose its less profitable brick-and-mortar locations.
Stores closing in 2019: 72
Things have been looking grim for Sears, which closed a slew of its stores in 2018 and filed for bankruptcy.
It has followed up with news that more than 70 additional department stores will be out of business in 2019, including the Sears at Minnesota's Mall of America, the largest shopping center in the U.S.
Sears has been sinking fast, but ESL Investments — a hedge fund led by the retailer's former CEO, Edward Lampert — bought the company in February in hopes of saving the last 425 Sears and Kmart stores.
11. Performance Bicycle
Stores closing in 2019: 102
The operator of Performance Bicycle shops in 20 states from coast to coast has been holding liquidation sales at all of its more than 100 stores.
Parent company Advanced Sports Enterprises filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-November and then hit the brakes on the Performance chain, which started as a bike catalog business in 1981.
Executives say the company is wallowing in debt and has been grappling with higher costs due to tariffs imposed as part of the ongoing trade war.
10. LifeWay Christian Stores
Stores closing in 2019: 170
Even a chain of religious stores doesn't have a prayer in the current retail environment.
LifeWay Christian Stores has announced that it's shutting down its entire chain of religious bookstores across 30 states, from Pennsylvania to California.
The company says sales and foot traffic have been declining at its brick-and-mortar locactions. Lifeway says it reaches five times more people online, so now it will shift even more resources into its digital business.
Stores closing in 2019: 150
Starbucks coffee shops are all over creation — sometimes you even find three on the same corner. So you might assume that all Starbucks knows how to do is grow and open new stores.
Nope, they do close them occasionally. And, the number expected to go out of business in 2019 is three times the roughly 50 that Starbucks usually shuts down each year.
The company says it will weed out weaker stores in saturated markets while it opens new ones in spots that don't have as many Starbucks shops. (Apparently, those places still exist!)
8. Things Remembered
Stores closiing in 2019: More than 200
Things Remembered is a store where you can get practically anything engraved, embroidered and personalized: jewelry, key chains, bathrobes, oven mitts, door knockers, hip flasks, piggy banks, paperweights, and so on and so on.
But consumers haven't been giving Things Remembered much thought, it seems. The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early February.
The chain is closing more than half its roughly 400 stores, Reuters reports. It's selling others, along with its online and mail-order business, to Enesco, a maker of Disney figurines and other collectibles.
Stores closing in 2019: The first of up to 230
At one time, the Gap was the coolest store at the mall, the place where you'd stock up on T-shirts, khakis, sweats and jeans that just looked so right.
But that was a long time ago. Nowadays, younger shoppers wouldn't think of falling into the Gap but instead find trendier and more affordable clothing at Target or "fast-fashion" chains such as H&M.
So, Gap plans to close around 230 stores over two years. But don't feel too badly for parent company Gap Inc., because its Old Navy chain is doing so well that it's being spun off as a separate business.
Stores closing in 2019: The first of at least 250
Chico's can't beat Amazon, so the women's clothing seller has joined them: It's now selling its stuff on the online superstore, and on QVC, too.
Meantime, Chico's says it will close at least 250 of U.S. stores over the next three years, though mostly after 2019. Executives say they want the retailer to have more of a digital presence, less of an old-fashioned physical one.
The closings will include not only Chico's locations but also some of the company's White House Black Market and Soma stores.
Stores closing in 2019: 363
A steady drip of store closings from the regional discount chain Shopko turned into a flood following the company's bankruptcy filing in January. Eventually, the retailer decided to shut down all of its stores by mid-June.
That was after executives tried but failed to find someone to buy the company and keep as many as 120 stores open.
Shopko made its name by going into smaller markets in the Midwest, the West and the Pacific Northwest that other chains ignored. The problem is that Amazon is now in all of those places.
4. Family Dollar
Stores closing in 2019: 390
Dollar stores had been bucking (pun intended) some of the trends squeezing other retailers, but now they're having difficulty, too.
As a result, up to 390 Family Dollar locations will shut down this year, and another 200 will be turned into Dollar Tree stores. Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar in 2015.
In a news release announcing the closings, Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin mentioned tariffs on imported goods as one of the challenges facing the company.
3. Charlotte Russe
Stores closing in 2019: 512
Charlotte Russe — a women's clothing chain that has been around since the mid-1970s — filed for bankruptcy in February and initially said it would close about one-fifth of its more than 500 locations.
But the retailer's website later announced that all stores would be shutting down.
Charlotte Russe borrowed its name from a French dessert, and apparently shoppers decided they'd rather not have another slice. The bankruptcy filing said the chain's sales had suffered a "dramatic decrease."
Stores closing in 2019: 800
Gymboree was playing a game of retail dodgeball — and lost.
This chain that sells clothing for kids and babies is going out of business. Gymboree came out of bankruptcy in 2017, but in January it filed all over again and said it would shut down all of its roughly 800 Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores.
The company was no match for competitors including Amazon, Walmart, Target and The Children's Place — which has been closing stores of its own, but has come out stronger.
1. Payless ShoeSource
Stores closing in 2019: 2,100
For generations, Payless was America's go-to for cheap footwear. In the very early days of the company, it advertised with the exuberant jingle, "Man alive! Two for five!" — meaning you could get two pairs of shoes for just $5.
But even Payless has had trouble competing against the deep discounts online and at stores like T.J. Maxx. So, the chain says it's closing its last 2,100 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and is going out of business.
Payless had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017. At the time, the chain was all over the map: It had more than 4,400 locations in over 30 countries.
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